“We who are Blamed”

What is easier, blaming someone or taking the blame?

If you have answered honestly and depending on the person you are, you most likely said blaming someone. This is true in many cases and at any age. Children will blame their siblings or friends to avoid dealing with consequences and adults will do the same.

A great example and well known example has been this past election, there was a lot of finger pointing and a lot of blaming. The highlight of the whole election was about “making America great again”, how? By deporting all immigrants because they were taking US citizens jobs and money.

In the novel Signs Preceding the End of the World the author Yuri Herrera does a great job in describing how difficult it can be to cross the border between the United States and Mexico. Although crossing is a challenge, the real challenge is once you are in America. People cross the borders in hopes of bettering their life’s and providing for their families back home but once they reach the other side they realize that not only will language be a barrier but everything else. In the novel the main character Makina struggles along her journey in America, she deals with many obstacles, but one of the main obstacles seems to be the people. She as an immigrant is accused or blamed of taking what is not hers, of destroying what is not her home. Towards the end of the novel Makina states the following:

“We are to blame for this destruction, we who don’t speak your tongue and don’t know how to keep quiet either … We who came to take your jobs, who dream of wiping your shit, who long to work all hours”. “We, the dark, the short, the greasy, the shifty, the fat, the anemic. We the barbarians” [1]

In this quote we see Makina’s explanation on how immigrants are treated and viewed. Here we can see that immigrants are blamed for taking over what the Americans do not want to do. No one wants to work from sun up to sun down, no one wants to break their backs picking up strawberries and no one wants to be bossed around, but someone has to do it.

Although the novel is fictional these are things that are being dealt with in “real life”, and it was clearly seen in this year’s election. Yet it is easier to point the finger and blame the outsider. The article “Nothing Donald Trump Says on Immigration Holds Up” mentions some quotes that our president stated during the election, and that are statistically proven wrong.

Take a look and see for yourself, the statics will impress you.

[1] Excerpt from: Herrera, Yuri. “Signs Preceding the End of the World.” iBook.

 

 

 

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“Culture Lost Through Generations”

Fiesta! 2010

From the online article “Fiesta celebrates Hispanic heritage, culture”  http://baylorlariat.com/2011/03/31/fiesta-celebrates-hispanic-heritage-culture/

Many if not all love the holidays, or any cultural celebrations. It’s that time of the year when we get to see our family, eat lots of yummy food and of course, vacation. But what do these celebrations mean? Growing up I never understood what we were celebrating, all I knew was that I was going to see my family, eat food and perhaps receive some presents.

Now does it make you wonder why is it that we have these celebrations? Are we celebrating the real meaning or are we celebrating out of habit?

The novel “Signs Preceding the End of the World” that was translated by Lisa Dillman starts of by describing Makina’s journey, the main character. In the novel Makina is in search of her brother who has cross the border to the United States, along her journey she encounters many differences. One of those being culture differences, in the novel Makina receives a message from her brother where he mentions celebrations in the U.S., he tells her,

“they celebrate here, too, but they don’t dance or pray, its not in honor of anyone”.(p.110, from digital version)

Here we can see how even an “outsider” from this culture was able to notice how these celebrations had no meaning. We can safely assume that the brother was able to notice these meaningless celebrations because he was brought up to know the meaning and purpose of the celebrations  in his culture.

Every culture has celebrations, and they all originated with a purpose, unfortunately these reasons get lost through generations. Not only does the original purpose of a celebrations gets lost but many other things, like the language spoken, music, dances and many other things.

So how do we make sure that our culture and celebrations continue on with meaning? By practicing, by doing, by participating and by knowing. The author lets us know that cultural history can easily be lost if we don’t use it, so it us up to us to know what we are celebrating and why we do it. It will also be more meaningful if we know.

Remember “if you don’t use it you lose it”.  

“Make Utopia Great Again”

 

What makes a country so great? is it their wealth, is it their power, is it their military, is it their values or is it because we are told that it is great?

Many are fortunate to live in a world where everything is handed to them, where they don’t have to worry about tomorrow because they know that everything will still be there. Yet there are those who are less fortunate, those who have to go to bed worrying about what they will be eating the next day, or if they will still be alive.

The author Ahmed Towfik, who wrote the novel “Utopia” gives a great storyline of these two distinct worlds. One called “Utopia” and the “Others”. The Utopians had all the things that society defines as what makes a country great, they had power and wealth. Where as the Others lived in poverty, where you would be considered lucky if you live through another day. These worlds seem so distinct, so different, yet the author lets us know that they are similar in many ways.

“Here and there, we’re both in love with violence.

Here and there, we both love drugs.

Here and there we both avidly watch movies about rape.

Here and there we both talk about religion.

There they take drugs to escape boredom.

Here we take drugs to forget the agony of the moment.” (p. 104)

Perhaps the reasoning of why things are done are different depending of where they live, but the same thoughts and methods are used.

The Utopians believe that they are superior to the Others because of their social and economic status, yet they have so much similarities, it is almost as if it were the same world. So is it really wealth and power that make a country great or superior to others? Or is a country actually great at all? If you take away wealth and power these two different worlds would be exactly the same.

Ahmed lets us know that these worlds are fictional, but is there some truth to it? Can we relate our world to the ones being describe in the novel? What makes America great? is it our wealth, is it our power, is it our military, is it our values or is it because we are told that it is great? What if we had none of these things that society defines as great, would we be superior to any other country? … Perhaps not.